SRDI is a member of the Search and Rescue Council, Inc., serving Tucson, Pima County, and Southern Arizona.
Southwest Rescue Dogs, Inc.
Board of Directors
Southwest Rescue Dogs, Inc, is an all-volunteer nonprofit 501(c)(3) K-9 search and rescue organization based in Tucson, Arizona, that serves as a resource for the Pima County Sheriff's Department. SRDI uses highly trained personnel and search dogs to find lost or injured people in inaccessible desert and mountain areas. All field teams consist of a dog, the dog's handler/owner, and an assist who is responsible for radio communications and various other tasks. Handler-dog pairs must pass rigorous certification tests in each discipline before becoming Mission Ready in that area.
All SRDI members are required to go through extensive training in radio communications, medical, crime scene preservation, biohazard handling, map, compass, GPS, helicopter procedures, knots, and a basic understanding of technical skills, particularly ascending and descending. Members must earn certification in Outdoor Emergency Care through the National Ski Patrol, as well as CPR certification.
Members of SRDI train their own dogs with guidance from our Training Chairman and assistance from others on the team. Dogs must be between the ages of six months and seven years old to begin training, while handlers must be at least eighteen years of age to become certified as Mission Ready. All dogs must pass a basic obedience test and, if working in an off-lead discipline (Air Scent, Evidence, or Cadaver), must pass an advanced obedience test. It takes countless hours and cooperation from every member of the team to train the dogs.
SRDI works in close cooperation with other Search and Rescue Council, Inc., teams, including: Southern Arizona Rescue Association, Pima County Sheriff's Mounted Posse, Civil Air Patrol (Neotoma Composite Squadron), and Pima County Search and Recovery Divers. Our primary county is Pima but we have been called to assist other counties in Arizona and have been utilized by local and federal agencies.
If you are interested in learning more about SRDI, you may attend one of our monthly meetings, email us, or write to us at the address below. Check our calendar for other upcoming events where you can meet and talk to SRDI members and dogs.
SRDI General Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month at the Pima County sheriff Substation #106, located at 8999 East Tanque Verde Rd. in Tucson (Tanque Verde & Catalina Hwy.) Meetings start at 7:00 pm and typically last for two hours. Visitors are always welcome.
SRDI holds three formal training sessions each month, two for a full Sunday and one on a Wednesday evening, at different locales in southern Arizona. Visitors are welcome to attend if they make a request in advance and sign a waiver before participating.
Interested in Joining SRDI?
If you think you would like to join our team, we look forward to meeting you! However, there are a few things you should consider.
First of all, search & rescue is a tremendous time commitment. Although not everyone who joins the team needs to attend every training, event, and callout, the reality is that the more you put into it, the more you will get back. Formal trainings take place only three times a month, but informal training within the team happens on a weekly if not daily basis. Handlers beginning a new dog in tracking are expected to work the dog a minimum of three times per week.
In addition, you should realize that there is much more to K-9 search & rescue than dog training. Our members are required to show competence in a wide variety of outdoor, survival, and medical skills before they will be certified as Mission Ready. Because of these important non-canine requirements, new members must attend 18 formal trainings before they will be permitted to bring a dog into the group. This generally takes about a year and is not negotiable.
Finally, the hard truth is that a great amount of our callouts are cadaver searches. We all have various levels of comfort with this part of the work, but anyone who joins SRDI will need to participate in cadaver training and searches.
If you have considered these points and still feel that SRDI is right for you, we invite you to get in touch with us. Come to our next General Meeting (see above for details), or if you prefer, email to firstname.lastname@example.org is the best way to get yourself invited to a training.
SRDI relies on donations from the community to fund our search and rescue activities. We have no paid members, and all members are responsible for purchasing their own gear, which is a substantial commitment. The only equipment SRDI purchase is communications, technical, and other training items to support the fundamental needs of our operations. Your support is essential to our ability to successfully serve the community.
SRDI is pleased to accept donations. If you would like to provide a tax-deductible donation to SRDI, please send check or money order to:
Southwest Rescue Dogs
Thank you for your support! Your donation will go directly to fund training and equipment needs for our members and dogs.